tv Washington Business Report ABC August 31, 2014 9:00am-9:31am EDT
>> business news from the capital region. this is "washington business report" with abc7 national correspondent rebecca cooper. >> welcome to your week look at the pple and issues driving the economy. oneng up on today's show, small business that is doing good. we will talk to the brain trust behind a succecessful startup helping charities raraise money. then, a roundtablevent. wewe are nervous abo international ininstability.
the esident has introduced a new strategy for dealing with isil.. but americans should feel confident about the economy, he says. first, you have heard him four years on the radio. to know the full story about the diamond d in the rough who becae a is missed gem? tovis creditsts his history facing down any obstacles. this week, we go one-on-one with ronnie mervis to talk about how he makes his business shine. welcome to washington business report, thank you for joining us. you come from an iconic voice in the washington market. tell us by your family background. >> i family has been in the jewelry business in south africa since the early 1930's. as kids, we grew up in the business. knowing all about it. somehow, this was in our blood.
there is one thing that every rvis child knows about and that is damaged. i think it comes out to the mother's milk candidates in their somehow. it is a natural sequiturs that somehow you will be in the tenantnt business. >> who stard the family business? >> the original was my father, who has passed on. he started it in 1975. father was in north -- an orphan. his parents had died when he was under the age of two. he was a self-made man. he was a self-made man who raised himself from out slowly nothing, note vintage, no education. herrived in south africa as a young stowaway. ,rom lithuania, eastern europe a head the not to rise in europe. he was one of the smart ones who
had a seofnse of what wagoing on. when he arrived in south africa, a young boy, almost a teenager -- no english, no educatio no shirt on his back. he just got going. he had a tremendous amount of drive and a huge amount of intelligence. a need to make it and survive. before i left, i was an attorney general. i was also involved in the family business. my brother was not so involved in the family business. we decided to set up and go out on our own. we know how to make girls happy. >> where is the first store? >> rockville, maryland. we started out as whoholesalers. we did that for many years and we are very successful. we decided we did not want to put our diamonds in the hands of otrs and rely on them to credit, because they did not
know what you're doing. we felt that many of the retail stores in this area were checking our merchandise and crting artificial blocks in the pipeline and being greedy. like you have heard in the radio, nobody pays retail anymore, whyhy should you? >> on washington business -- anyone in a competitiv market made a usp. a unique selling proposition. it makes you special. we understand th one of them was your jewels. nobody pays retail, why should you? >> a diamond is not a logical purchase. it is a rational purchase, and emotional purcrchase. we, and everybody else, need to recognize that. i like to say sometimes in aa joking sense, but often literally -- we are not in the diamond busiss. we aren love, relationships,
lust, dreams, whatever. >> this some ways gives you instant credibility. time wherewas a diamonds -- you had to go on a campaign to convince customersrs. >> there was a movie with leonardo dicaprio. it came out. it was a hollywood version of what was going on. we knew it was coming and we were concerned. just like the first trade suffered and new york would not wear fur -- we knew this was coming. ampaign.t out on a pre-c we said this movie is coming out. we understand it portrays diamonds in a negative light. we would like everyone to have some facts.
there are conflicts diamond. they conitute e about half of 1% of all the diamonds in the world. 98% of diamonds are conflict fr. so-called conflict diamonds or blood diamond come from certain areas in africa only. we are not involved in those areas. that is not where our diamonds come from. >> throughout the world, you continue to grow. what do you attrute your success to? >> the basic ingredient is s vey simple. i do not know why everybody can get . be honest, provide great quality, give a good selection, be reasoble in your pricing, and you don't have to be a genius. marketing is great. the best marketing in the world cannot sell a bad product. 2.01 blue point diamond -- >> at the endth of the day, what is the most useful piece of jewelry?
>> the best diamond is the prettiest assignment. not necessarily so small that you cannot see it or so large, you have t to find a balance. nd one that has the best bling. ing, brilliance, fire, excitement. everything that has a fine color, few imperfections. mervis.y we spotlightck, tiny company raising top dollar for wounded warriors, toys for tots, and other worthy causes. ♪ herbalife has vitamin supplements
fofor the whole family. i use herbalife energy drinks before a long workout. i use the protein shakes. they help me manage my weight. we started in 1980, and now have millions of customers around the globe. we employ over 7000 people worldwide and we're growing everyday because our products help people live healthier, more active lives. with a better diet, exercise and herbalife, i've lost 22 pounds and feel great. find out morore at i am herbalife.com
>> e smalall-business spotlight focuseon a small vginia company helping millns of pele. whichs start up success, helps nonprofifits well beating back rivals. stmemed one of the fte growing compmpanies in the u.s., they say that is a shot in the arm for any small business, especially one that combined passion with profit. at first, they were creatingng software for huge companies. >> a transition out of the for-profits face. i would not even say rationality. we looked and said look -- we can do this for an organization that is doing half $1 billion of transactions. there is a lot of other great causes out there like special olympics, like toys for tots,
who could benefit from things like that. engine wasarity born, using cutting-edge technology to helponprofit organizations raise cash. >> we are going to zeroro. that is literally thpot right therere -- when y cnn ad on tv d you wonder how long and who called? they call for about 40 seconds. nonprofits n need to recognize o their r major donors are. how do you find those people? you can say show me all the people who attended my gala and donated over $500 and yogoes on the website with some regularity and two has responded by direct mail basis. we could notot do that before u. >> ththe other thing that is sur powerful, charityngine's competition. they're up against big names in the indudustry, like black pot. >> you know what you're getting. we have the opportunity we have
found. there's not a lot of innovation happening there. you know, it seems like there is a void in terms of technology. that is why we find the market interesting. >>pull up the ad. >> their secret ingredient is passion. >> you cannot sort of care about it. you cannot sort of think about a young kid who has autism. running 100 meters. this team knows the cause they are fighting for. >> those dreams are what fueled the workers here. >> the passion has to be inside of you. you have to say, i'm going to follow some guys with a crazy idea who decided it makes perfect sense. and going up against a half billion dollar year company. what we are doing is different. we're not just a company that is following what everyone else in the market is doing. >> i would actually recommend
inteteresting -- >> it paid off. people magazine named him one of the fastest growing companies. it is much neededed recognition. >> it m means that you're being successful. we are a startup culture. we have been aund since 1999. it is very i important too communicate to someonene you d't know. we operate -- 5000 is huge. >> we see these incremental dollars. someone is doing something good locally to help. >> we made the decision 3-4 years ago to go 100% % into the nonprofit space. we put a brand of charity engine around our platform. one of the things that has come out of that is that we did not realize -- just, the amount of impacts that we couldld have and how much it
energizes our whe company to know that we are really helping organizations that really do good things for peoplple. up talking choked about his company. coming up on the rououndtable, e presidt talks about the economy's recovery. the roundtable weighs in on their opinions about the economy, and more after the break. ♪
recovery. but unemployment is up in d.c. even the president admitted we need to do better. he says it is congress' fault for not passing his oposalal. he had ts to say about why americans should feel gogood abt where the economy is headed. >> we found out that our economy actually grew in the second quarter more than we originally thought. companies are investing. nsumers are spending. in the past 4.5 years, we have created nearly 10 million new jobs.s. they're feelingng good about the direction they're headed. >> so, theoundtable is feeling gogood about the economy? or, like many of us, worry that inteational instability could undo the gain? anding g us, peter moresey ofathan albeman, one
washington's most powerful. welcome to you both. peter, there are two things i can count on y one. the chinese government and t obama administration. the presesident took some credi, does he deserve e any? >> took more credit than he deserves. like himonomists politically. easy growth at a much lower pace in the third quarter. going forward, a little bit of optimism. i think he will do better over the nenext 12 months. it won't be blockbuster, , but things are getting better. >> does he get the credit for that or do other forces in the economy? >> this looks a lot like the george bush recovery. in the end, the u.s. ecoconomy does not ce for r the white house. >> despite washington, the economis doing better. i counted you to wear your solidarity with e president.t. i ththink that market is tankin. >> the tan astute markeket? he did notull it off this
week, i don't think. what did he pull off? he says it is congress' fau? what does he want congress to do? >> the reality is that this economy turned around quickly. we should thank the fed. t thing, what the president should do o is pass a bdudt. >> that is probably wt happens. > by the wayyou tatalk about d.c. d.c. growth is being harmed because ofequestrationon and the fact that congress. caot manage itself properly >> explained that u.s.. we have always thougught we were the recession proof economy because wewe repely on the government jobs. is that what is drivi the sea unployment ticking down slightly? >> it does affect d.c. health care spending is increasing.
that money goes out national, everywhere. where we a are cututting is in defense. we are heavily concentrated there. and in discretionary programs not related to entitlements. so, that does tend to concentrate the pain i in nohern virginia and suburban maryland and the district. >> what is the white house doing rit? they do they say governrnment a as the enemy y ty need to get out of theay so they can move forward. >> i thihink there is always gog to be a push and pull. what the president could d rit -- we both believe that t the banks to heavily concentntrated. i lieve that the president shoulde focusing on the internet to make sure the internet is regugulating basicic freedoms. there are ththings that e president could be doing and should be dodoing th respect to the economy. the best thihing thahat this president has done is focus on th importancnce of a strong middle classss. this country is most prosperous
we have a strong middle class and great jobs. right now, we do't. >> which of the proposals but he has s out ththere do yosee tha's one that could help the middle class or hurt them? an increase in n taxes in the way that he would like is not e way to go. we do need more infrasucture in a way that deals with climate change. that is essentialllly pedestri tax. ifif people employ bigger vehicles, en they should pay to drive them. we have the tax on gas. we need do that. >> let's get to the big issue, international instabability. the president did not help the market at all on thursday. they are already feeling jtery about russian troops enteringg ukraine. then, he says, inexplicably, we do not have e a strarategy for . they pull that back and say, what he meant was we do not h he
a specific strategy about who is targeted. that is too much fine print and it did notot make people feel better. is he hurting the economy? ders love momentum. maet street on news. i am not bothered about the. with respect to foreigpolicy, we neeto understand that we are in world where nonststate actors can create significant problems. isis is not a nation. they are a sunni insurrection. it is not a state -- they may be a terrist organization. my point is the following -- you cannot start dropping bombs unless you have a policy. >> thisis is something we have been facing. the administration says they have the best and the brightest. the secretary ofof defense said this is a huge threat. the president tried to play down exactly how much of a ncern that shoululd be. marketearly, even if the
was driven by russian troops in ukraine and human to call that a blip -- coconsum confidence is going to look at the overall situation in the world. when the president says we do not have a strategy for dealing with a a huge threat, i cannot help the economy. >> they are saying that there is no threat. they are saying ththere is no specific thrhreat. >> administration seems to disagree with each other. >> i understand that. they're putting out conflicting messages. there is no specific t threat fm isilil. however, there is a nation emerging that will havcontrol. they are not attracting professionals to migrate there. they wilnot have to go bging or threatenining or kidnapping. that is a big g issue. [indiscernible] >> the rtion of iraq where the oil is is wherthe shiites and the kurds are. the selective mbing that we
have bn doining is to shore up those two groups. >> thatoes not hold ground. the boom line is we do not have a strategy for eliminating it. the potential allies that we have in the region are undesirabl >> if you want them to be organized, you have to lead from the top and say weo not have a strategy. no matter what he meant. >> you stomach a good conservative republin when you say that. >> i leave it t to everyone else to figigure out the answers, i just ask the questions. we're out of time. we will ha you much back for more of this discussion. stay with us.
>> as always, thankou for joining . we went to hear directly from you. tell us the stories thatat caut your attenti. i will ask the panel. >> medicaid and medicare cost may be following. >> burger king going to canada. i wrote about that in thursday's washington times. >> always good to be thinking about things. we want to know what you're thinking aboutut. tweet us or go to our facebook page. as alws, youou canatch this
>> "government matters this week on" -- sets the king inversion debate. how will the government t respo? ofthey need thousands technologists and engineers and software developers within the company. >> todd parkhead's back t silicon valley. his new role. >> the key part is keeping that identity and keeping thapeace tied to the credential. >>